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Sept. 10, 1946.y
w. H. BussEY
Filed Feb. 17, 1945 l
Patented Sept. 10, 1946
William H. Bussey, Chicago, Ill., assignor, by
mesne assignments, to Oliver W. Storey,
Wheaton, Ill., as trustee for the partnership
of O. W. Storey & Associates, Chicago, Ill.
Application February 17, 1945,-Serial No. 578,496
7 claims. (c1. 1v1-327)
This invention relates to an electrical apparatus
and more particularly to an inertia type of trans
ducer. In the izo-pending application Ser. No.
573,913, filed January 22, 1945, there is disclosed
a transducer operating on a capillary electrometer
principle. A capillary electrometer, in its most
general form, comprises mercury and a suitable
electrolyte forming an interface in a restricted
space. The restricted space is conveniently
formed by an insulating tube, such as glass,
shaped to provide a capillary channel.
I is placed upon the inertia of some liquid such as
mercury for transducer action.
Referring tothe drawing, Figure 1 is a side
elevation of one form of the invention. Figure 2
is a side elevation of a modified form of the in
vention, and Figure 3 is an elevation of a further
The invention in general contemplates a cap
illary electrometer including a container adapted
to move relatively to the liquid contents thereof.
It has
There is provided a liquid body in part of said
been found that such an interface tends to move
container having sufficient mass, in comparison to
or change its shape in response to a suitable elec
the rest of the transducer system,- so that most
tric potential impressed across it or will generate
of the inertia of the system is concentrated there.
a suitable potential when such interface is 15 Compliant means between container and liquids
changed or moved.
in the container are provided so that the contents
An electrometer of this type must be operated
and container will tend to resume a predeter-I
below a predetermined threshold voltage, gen
mined relative position.
erally about the order of one-half volt for an in
Referring to Figure 1, there is provided a con
terface of mercury and dilute sulphuric acid. In 20 tainer having main chamber IIJ‘of insulating ma..
order to increase the effective threshold voltage,
terial with tubular branches II and I2. Branches
it is possible to separate the interface forming
II and I2 are preferably parallel and collinear
liquids into discrete globules forming a series of
and have channels I3 and I4 therein. Channels
cascaded interfaces. By forming an even num
I3 and I4 are of capillary dimensions and may
ber of such interfaces, it is possible to reduce the
vary in diameter from about fifty microns up to
amount of electrolyte used to a minimum and
as much as one millimeter and even more.
terminate the liquid bodies of the system with
precise size and shape of the capillary may vary
within wide limits. It has been found that too
mercury. This has a decided advantage in that
the electrical resistance of the system is reduced.
Mercury or some mercury alloy in liquid form
constitutes one of the interface forming liquids.
The other may be an electrolyte such as about ten
line a capillary may cause undesirable secondary
effects while an excessively coarse capillary lacks
The length .of- branches II and I2
may vary widely though, in general, lengths of
per cent sulphuric acid or may consist of any one
between one quarter and three quarters of an
of a large number of compounds. In any event,
inch may be used. Branches II and I2 have endy
the specific gravity of the mercury will always 35 portions I6 and I‘I in which are sealed lead-in
be substantially greater than that of the electro
wires I8 and I9 of platinum or other suitable
lyte used. In addition to this, since the electrical
metal. It is understood that ends I6 and I'I are
resistance of practically all electrolytes will be
hermetically sealed. Thus, each branch has a
substantially greater than that of mercury, it is
dead end and has a capillary portion therein.
clear that, in general, it may be desirable to have 40
Disposed within chamber l!! is a quantity of
mercury as the major component of the interface
liquid mercury 2l, said mercury extending into
forming liquids. Thus, a substantial quantity of
capillary passages I3 and I4 in side branches II
mercury in comparison to the total quantity of
and I2 respectively.
liquid in the system will generally be desirable.
As shown here, one of the interface forming
Unless the quantity of liquid in the system is kept
liquids, i. e. mercury, is utilized as the liquid mass
to a low value, it follows that the inertia of the
in chamber Hl, Thus, the main body of mercury
mercury as a movable element will be a substan
is relied upon both for its inertia and also as an
tial part of the entire inertia of the transducer.
By virtue of the invention herein described, ad
vantage is taken of this fact, and the inertia of
the mercury is utilized for transducer action~
In general, the invention contemplates a cap
illary type of electrometer wherein the vibratory
energy to be transduced is communicated to the
electrometer container or chamber, and reliance
element in the electrometer within the capillary
portions of the side branches~ It is possible to
have some other liquid in chamber II) and use a
small amount of mercury in the branches neces
sary for electrometer operation. In such case,
polarizing potentials and leads to the mercury Will
have to be considered.
.At suitable places in the capillary passages,
drops of electrolyte (here shown as two) 2D and
2I are disposed to form interfaces 22 to 25 inclu
sive in capillary passage i3 and drops 26 and 21
to form interfaces 28 to 3| inclusive in capillary
passage I4. Beyond interfaces 25 and 3l, mer
cury 32 and 33 may be disposed.
Ends I5 and I1 have spaces i6’ and i1’ 'therein
substantially the same shape as the container
shown in Figure l, namely chamber 4I having a
generally ovoid shape, and side branches 4Z and
in which are preferably disposed means for irn
them between chamber 4I and ends 44 and 45.
parting compliance to the liquid system.
43 respectively extending from opposite sides oi'
chamber 4l. Side branches t2 and 43 have end
portions de and 4'5. Branches e2 and 43 have
capillary channels 45 and 4'! extending through
Ends M and 45 preferably have enlarged gas
spaces 48 and 49 respectively.
simplest means consists in permitting air to re»
In one side branch such as 11.2 for example,
main in these spaces, the air being at any de
one or more globules of electrolyte 551 and 5l
sired pressure. However, instead of air, any
may be disposed separated by globule 52 of mer
other gas such as nitrogen, hydrogen, or inert
cury. Mercury 53 and 5d may be disposed at
gas or vapor may be used. It is also possible to
dispose compressible material in these spaces, such 15 the outer sides of the electrolyte globules.
Mercury 54 extends from capillary channel 4E
as sponge material. If desired, the container
to gas space 48 and is adapted to have lead ‘55
may have a part thereof at ends IS and Il' of
resilient material as a wall portion with or with
sealed in the container wall and extend from
the outside through to the mercury. Lead 55
out gas spaces I6’ and I 'I'.
Since the compliance in the system will be one
may be of platinum or any other suitable metal.
factor in determining the natural frequency of
Gas space 48 may vary within the wide limits,
oscillations of the liquids in the system, it will
but should preferably have a transverse dimen
be necessary to control the amount of compli
sion or diameter (if the region has a circular cross
ances if the resonant frequency of the system
section, although this is not essential) of not
is to be at a desired Value.
25 more than several millimeters. Thus, gas space
Chamber Ill may be of any shape and size
48 will retain more or less the capillary charac
desired and, as shown, may have a generally
teristics of channel 46. Gas space 48 may have
ovoid outline. Thus, chamber Ii! will have a
air, some inert gas, or mixture of gases such as
volume that is substantial in comparison to the
hydrogen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, or
volume of capillary passages I3 and I4. In
any vapor iilling at least part thereof. Irre
order to communicate motion to or from cham
spective of the position of the entire device,`the
ber I0 or any part of the container, coupling re
liquid column Within capillary 45 will be main
gion 35 may be provided on chamber I0. This
tained intact under normal operating conditions
region is preferably in a plane normal to the axis
and, as long as lead 55 maintains contact with
of the capillary passages and, for convenience,
the liquid column in capillary 4S, operation is
may lay in an equatorial plane. Any suitable
always assured.
vibratory load or generator such as diaphragm
Lead 56 may be sealed in container 43 at any
35 may be coupled to chamber Ii) at region 35.
point in chamber 4I such as forexample at or
It is understod that leads I8 and I5 will have
near the junction of chamber 4I and capillary
flexible portions for conducting currents to or 40 4G. Within chamber 4I, there may be any de
from the electrorneter during normal operation.
sirable liquid, either conducting or non-'conduct
When converting vibratory energy into vary
ing. Thus, if chamber 4I is filled with mercury,
ing electrical potentials, vibrations of diaphragm
lead 56 may be sealed in at any portion of the
36, or other generator of vibrations, will vibrate
the entire container along the axis of the side
Within capillary 4l, there may be either the
arms. Thus, if the container is initially moved
same liquid as in chamber 4I or a different liquid,
to the right, it will be equivalent to moving Iner
and this liquid may extend up to gas space 48.
cury 2I to the left and maintaining the con
Gas space 49, like space 48, may have any desired
tainer stationary. The net result will be to cregas or vapor, and the gas or vapor contents in
ate a pressure wave along channel I3 toward ,_
either or both gas spaces may be at any desired l
sealed end I8. This will tend to move interfaces
22 to 25 left. Similarly, a wave of reduced pres
sure will be generated in side arm I4, this tend
ing to move interfaces 28 to 3l left toward dia
phragm 3G. Thus a true push-pull action will
result. The above assumes no reflections of
pressure waves for simplicity. In case of reflec
pressure, either above, equal, or below atmosj
pheric pressure.
tion, the analysis is more complex.
If desired, neutral terminal 31 may be sealed
in chamber ID so that the system may have three
Conversely, upon application of a potential dif
ference between outside terminals I8 and i9, a
push~pull action upon the interfaces will result
and cause movement of the container Which
movement will be communicated to diaphragm
An inertia type of transducer does not neces
sarily require a push-pull type of device. It is
clear that the interfaces in both branches do not
necessarily have to be equal and, in fact, the in
terfaces in one of the branches may be omitted
It is evident that the container structure is
substantially the same as that of the structure
shown in Figure 1 with the exception that no
lead cr no interfaces are provided in connection
with capillary 41. Thus, the two gas spaces proi
vide compliance for the system, While the actual
transducer action is provided only in one capil
As previously pointed out, it is possible to dis
pose capillary electrometer elements in series to
accommodate potentials greater than can be
handled by one interface. It is also possible to
dispose a plurality of capillary electrometer ele
ments in parallel to increase the electric currents
and mechanical force.
Referring now to Figure 3, block 60 may have
opposed faces 6I and 62. Block 6I) is of insulat
ing material such asv glass, Bakelite, polystyrene,
or any other material resistant to mercury and
the electrolyte used. Block 60 may have any
shape desired and, for convenience, is shown as a
Thus, the modified structure shown in Figure 2
discloses container 40 which may preferably have
cylinder with opposed faces GI' and 62 forming
the ends thereof. A plurality of capillary pas
sages 63 are disposed longitudinally of the block
Any suitable means 80 may be attached to con
and extend from one end face to the other end
vface thereof.
Block 60 may be disposed within and secured
tainer 65 at any desired region for imparting to
or receiving from container 65 motion for trans
ducer action.
It is clear that by having substantial masses of
liquids at regions 66 and 68, ‘iii and 'H that the
device will function as an inertia type of trans
to container 65 of any suitable insulating mate
rial, block @D being disposed in such manner as to
Aiill the container channel completely. Thus, cap
illary passages 63 form the sole liquid paths be
tween faces 6l and E2 within container 65.
ducer. If desired, container 65 may be enlarged
at these regio-ns so that a greater quantity of liq
If desired, another block 60’ similar to block 10 uid is present. This enlargement may be either
transverse or longitudinal, or both, of the con
60 may be disposed in container 65 and spaced
from block 6G to form region 6B between the two
What is claimed is:
blocks. As many blocks maybe added as desired.
l. A transducer comprising an insulating con
Within the capillary passages in the blocks,
there may be disposed as many globules of mer 15 tainer having a chamber and a pair of dead-end
branches including opposed capillary portions
cury and electrolyte to form interfaces as may be
leading from said container and being substan
It is preferred that substantially all
tially collinear, mercury and another liquid in
passages in one block have an equal number of
said container forming at least one capillary elec
interfaces. ’inasmuch as the electrolyte will, in
general, be reduced to a minimum, the number of 20 trometer interface in at least one of said capillary
'portions with a substantial quantity of mercury
interfaces will be an even number, and mercury
in said chamber, electrical connections from the
will be the end liquid at the block faces.
outside of said container to said interface form
Within region 5B, a quantity of mercury may
ing liquids, and compliant means at the dead
be disposed to form both an electrical and me
chanical connection between the capillary pas
sages in one block and the capillary passages in
ends of said branches beyond said capillary por
tions for accommodating relative movement be
tween the liquids and container, said container
being adapted to vibrate during normal trans
ducer operation and there being a continuous
the other block.
At the outer faces of the end blocks, in this
case 6I and 62', regions 68 and 69 are formed
within which regions mercury may be present. 30 liquid column between said opposed capillary
Leads 10 and 'll may be sealed into the container
2. VA transducer comprising an insulating con
from the outside and extend through the wall of
tainer having a generally ovoid chamber and a
the container to mercury in regions 63 and 68.
pair of opposed dead-end branches including
Thus, circuit connections from the outside to the
capillary portions leading from the small ends of
interface forming liquids in the system is assured.
said container and being substantially collinear,
In order to provide compliance within the sys
mercury and another liquid in said container
tem, a pair of blocks 'I2 and 13 may be provided
forming at least one capillary electrometer inter
beyond regions 68 and B9. Blocks 12 and 'I3 are
face in each capillary portion with a substantial
similar in mechanical structure to blocks 60 and
quantity of mercury in said chamber, electrical
60’ in having capillary passages 'M and l5.
connections from the outside of said container
These passages may extend from regions 68 and
to said interface forming liquids, gas spaces at
69 as far as desired. The number and size of
said branch ends providing compliance for ac
capillary passages need not be the same as in
commodating relative movement between the
blocks 6!! and 60', and it is not essential that
liquids and container, and means disposed on said
blocks 'l2 and 73 be of insulating material. Cap
container for transmitting to or receiving there
illary passages 'I4 and 'l5 in the two end blocks
from vibration incident to transducer operation.
have air or any inert gas or mixture of gases
3. The structure of claim 2 wherein said elec
therein. Capillary forces will prevent mercury in
trical connections comprise wires passing through
regions 68 and 69 from extending very far into
blocks 12 and 13. However, the gas in these ' said container at the dead-ends of said branches
and a neutral wire through said container at the
blocks may be compressed and may provide any
desired compliance at both ends of the system.
4. A transducer comprising an insulating con
The length of the blocks including the blocks
tainer having a block of insulating material
having interface forming liquids therein may
vary within wide ranges. Thus block 6U and any . therein, said block having a plurality of capillary
passages therethrough, said block separating said
other additional blocks which may have interface
container interior into two regions intercon
forming liquids therein may range in length
nected solely by said capillary passages, mercury
from one-quarter of an inch up depending upon
and another liquid in said container forming at
the number of interfaces. Blocks 'l2 and 13 may
least one capillary electrometer interface in each
vary in length, depending upon the amount of
capillary passage with a substantial quantity of
compliance desired, the pressure oi the gas with
mercury in said two regions, electrical connec
in the system, and other factors.
tions from the outside of said container to said
Container 65 is preferably sealed around the
interface forming liquids, and compliant means
entire system of blocks. It is possible, however,
comprising capillary gas passages at said regions
to leave the outer end face of blocks 12 and 13
for accommodating relative movement between
open to the atmosphere, since capillary passages
the liquids and container, said container being
in these blocks will maintain the mercury in posi
adapted to vibrate during normal transducer
tion. However, upon jarring or excessive vibra
tion, it is possible to lose some mercury and con
tamination may also occur.
It is, therefore, de- -
sirable to seal the entire system hermetically. I1"
desired, additional air space beyond blocks 12 and
13 may be provided within container 65 with the
capillary passages in these end blocks serving only
as a mercury retaining means.
5. The structure of claim 4 wherein each capil
lary passage has an even number of interfaces
with the number of interfaces in all passages
being the same.
6. A transducer comprising an insulating con
tainer having at least two blocks in spaced rela
tion with said blocks dividing said container into
three isolated regions, each block having a plu
rality of capillary passages therethrough between
the regions on opposite sides of said block, mer
tainer having at least one block therein dividing>
said container interior into two regions,l said
block having a plurality of capillary passages
connecting said regions, mercury and another
cury and another liquid in said container form
ing at least one capillary electrometer interface
in each capillary passage With a substantial
liquid in said block passages forming at least one
quantity of mercury in each region, electrical
connections from the outside of said container to
contacting said interface forming liquids, electri
said interface forming liquids, and compliant
means comprising capillary gas passages at the
end regions for accommodating relative move~
ment between the liquids and container, said con
capillary electrometer interface in each passage,
a substantial quantity of liquid in said regions
cal connections from the outside of said container
to said interfacev forming liquids, and an addi
tional block in each of said regionsr each said
additional block having a, plurality of capillary
passages extending from said regions, said capil
tainer 'being adapted to vibrate during normal
lary passages containing gas` and providing com
transducer operation.
15 pliance for said system.
’7. A transducer comprising an insulating con
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